Monthly Archives: July 2014

The New Internet governance setup proposed by the French Senate


The French Senate is proposing a new Internet governance Setup under the United Nations, specifically the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Reading through the paper published by the french senate with raporteur Mrs Catherine MORIN-DESAILLY, Senator for the Seine-Maritime with notice the following issues:

  1. An outcry for survival: The French senate considers the present Internet as an “American Thing” Mrs Catherine MORIN-DESAILLY reports “The Internet in fact appears as an extension of legal and economic power. Since the beginning of the 1990s and even before the World Wide Web was generally used, the United States had taken legal and fiscal measures to achieve a leadership position in this technology. Thus today for example, out of the 50 leading digital media companies, 36 are American. In the 2000s, both China and Russia built up their own ecosystems of leading digital companie”
  2. The fall of the State power: French rapporteur expresses her fears of the State loosing its power to private companies. It should be noted that 36 out of the top 50 private companies championing the Internet world are Americans. She goes on “Because of the network effect, the Internet is becoming hyper-centralised, favouring major private companies which are
    organised as verticalised silos, particularly in the mobile sector, where they provide devices, operating systems and applications. These 2 EUROPE TO THE RESCUE OF THE INTERNET major players defy States
  3. Denouncing a new form of colonization: She considers Europe as a colonized territory by the Internet magnets, arguing that this old continent has lost its grip on the Internet. In her own words mrs DESAILLY says that Becoming a ‘colony of the digital world’, Europe is largely outdistanced by this redistribution of powers. The Old Continent is even going backwards – considering the drop of top EU companies from 12 to 8.
  4. An outcry of the American domination: She demonstrate the continuous challenge of the American domination of the Internet Governance. She says “Such American domination of Internet governance is being increasingly challenged. The Tunis Agenda, published at the end of the World Summit on the Information Society in 2005, recognises the equal importance of all stakeholders –governments, the private sector, civil society -in Internet governance and calls for their
    enhanced cooperation. It created for this purpose the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)”
  5. A call for action: She demonstrates the importance and indispensability of the open standards of IGF and calls on EU states to agree to embody the founding principles of the NETmundial of Sao Paolo in an international treaty open to all States,
    which could be ratified on line by Web users.This Mission also recommends globalising the governance of Internet on the basis of the NETmundial principles and calls for:- the creation of a network of bodies to provide a distributed and transparent Internet governance, by formalising the roles of and interactions between ICANN, Internet registers…
  6. Reforming ICANN (Internet cooperation for Assigned names and numbers) to WICANN (World ICANN)
  7. Giving political powers an upper hand on digital issues:  She argues that the governance of digital issues should be better structured politically : within the Council of the European Union through specific ministerial meetings on digital technologies so as to overcome political barriers; within the European Parliament by creating special committees to examine Internet-related texts; in France, through the creation of both an interministerial Committee on Digital Technologies, reporting directly to the Prime Minister, and a Digital Committee in the French Senate whose members would also be members of a standing legislative committee.Furthermore, the European Internet model should be promoted through a proper digital diplomacy policy.

What the founder of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Barner Lee thinks of an ITU cordination of the Internet.

He told BBC, “I think it’s important that these existing structures continue to be used without any attempt to bypass them. These organisations have been around for a number of years and I think it would be a disruptive threat to the stability of the system for people to try to set up alternative organisations to do the standards.”

QUESTIONS FROM AFRICA AND OTHER COUNTRIES FROM THE UNDER DEVELOPED WORLD

We are wondering what will become of Africa if the Internet governance is handed to the United Nations in its present configuration with five countries dominating the world. What will be the constitution of the World council Mrs DESAILLY is talking about? we are interested to know how the members of this council will be nominated or voted and what is the guarantee of transparency. Will the outcome not be influenced by the Internet giants still from the private sector?

These are just a few preoccupations  I think we should ponder before giving the French proposal a chance.

Download details on the French Proposal @ http://www.senat.fr/fileadmin/Fichiers/Images/commission/MCI_nouvelle_gouvernance_de_l_internet/EUROPE_TO_THE_RESCUE_OF_THE_INTERNET_english_summary.pdf

 

Net Neutrality in Cameroon: discussion on STV


TV talk on Net Neutrality

TV talk on Net Neutrality

An interactive multi-stakeholder discussion on Spectrum Television (STV) Douala, Cameroon on the 26th of July 2014 from 3pm- 4:30pm Cameroon time. The presenter of the show was Amy Banda, panelist included Excel Asama, CEO of I-Vission International (www.ivission.net) and Ngwaneba Jonathan, managing Director of Leading Edge Technologies Cameroon (www.letecam.com)

For ninety minutes, the panelist explored the concept of Net neutrality and surrounding issues including:

  • The actual context of the Internet as a whole in Cameroon
  • The reasons behind the slow bandwidth
  • Regulatory issues (in the ability of the regulator to redress the issues)
  • Network Shaping and censorship
  • Deep Packet inspection Technologies
  • Legislation in Cameroon
  • What structures have been put in place to manage the Internet as a resource and
  • Online safety

Some questions from televiewers

 Televiewers were interested to know why the Internet bandwidth is slow in Cameroon, how can they work safely online and what are the indicators that a user’s bandwidth is either throttled or system hacked.

We noticed that some of the questions were asked by government officials and ISPs. This programme will be rebroadcasted today Sunday at 10:30pm and on Wednesday at 4pm Cameroon time on STV (Voice of the Voiceless)

Observations

  1. The discussions on Net Neutrality in Cameroon are getting more and more emotional and sensitive
  2. Government officials and ISPs are not willing to make public declarations. They instead prefer to meet us in our offices for any talk.

Promoting Net Neutrality through multi stakeholder capacity building and dialogue


Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality

A capacity building seminar was organized in Douala-Cameroon on the 18th of July 2014 at hotel Lewat by I-Vission International with the theme: Promoting Net Neutrality through multi stakeholder capacity building and dialogue.  A multi stakeholder discussion  was also conducted to get the opinions of the different actors present on the challenges faced in Cameroon and how to influence policy in the interest of everyone. Georges Ndenga, a senior journalist with CRTV (Cameroon radio and Television Corporation) moderated the discussion.

Forty two participants were trained on the concept of Net Neutrality including its historical background, how to detect abuse, its importance and impact if not maintained.

These participants came from different social sectors including government ranks, civil society, the private sector and the media. They all came with different expectations on the issue of Net Neutrality as a concept and as a social challenge in Cameroon. Most of the trainees focused more on cyber crime which is just one of the consequences of Net Neutrality abuse. Excel Asama and SAME Grace explained the concept and explored the different forms of abuse noticed in recent years through PowerPoint presentations and live demonstration on the Internet.

Almost all the participants made known to the project team that they were ignorant of the concept and especially the different forms of abuse by some Internet Service Providers and Governments. At the end of the training, they actually understood what has been happening in their networks, what their rights are and how to detect and report any form of abuse using online open source tools. Web tools from the Glasnost Measurement Lab were used as a case study to measure the performance and transparency of the network. Our aim was to verify any form of network probing or shaping and application blocking.

We carried out the following test:

  • P2P applications blocking: BitTorrent, emule, Gnutella
  • Standard apps: Email (POP), Email ‘IMAP4) http transfer, SSH transfer
  • Video on demand: Flash video (YouTube)

At the time of the test, we did not notice any form of traffic shaping in the selected network.

About Glasnost Measurement Lab

M-Lab provides the largest collection of open Internet performance data on the planet.

When an Internet application doesn’t work as expected, how can you tell whether the problem is caused by your connection, the application or something else? It can be very difficult for professional network administrators, let alone average Internet users, to answer this sort of question today. Transparency has always been an essential component of the Internet’s success, and Internet users deserve to be well-informed about the performance of their broadband connections. For that to happen, researchers need resources to develop new analytical tools.

M-Lab provides the largest collection of open Internet performance data on the planet. As a consortium of research, industry, and public interest partners, M-Lab is dedicated to providing an ecosystem for the open, verifiable measurement of global network performance. Real science requires verifiable processes, and     M-Lab welcomes scientific collaboration and scrutiny.

Source http://www.measurementlab.net/

 Output of the training

  • Forty two (42) participants acquired new skills in the concept of net neutrality; What it is all about, what the law says, how to detect abuse and report back
  • Participants expressed their support for the initiative and promised to translate the skills acquired in their various institutions.
  • Twenty five (25) participants signed the partnership convention with us to support and participate in Net Neutrality Observatory Group (NetNOG)
  • Government, ISP, Civil Society and Internet Users sat on the same table to discuss issues on Net Neutrality for the very first time in Cameroon

Excel Asama saluted the presence of the following stakeholders:

  • The Regional Delegate of the Post and Telecommuiation Mr Mohamadou Bassirou for his perpetual support and concern in the development of ICTs in Cameroon. He reiterated his support for ICT initiatives and the commitment of government to become a hub in the central Africa zone. More than 12000km fiber optic backbone cable network has been installed nationwide, an Internet Exchange point is currently being set up in Caltel Bepanda, Legistaltions are operating in the ICT sector in Cameroon.  In  a few words, Mr Mohamadou Bassirou encouraged Internet Service Providers to respect and observe Net Neutrality in Cameroon.
  • Marc Ngiamba, project manager of ici.cm platform, ISP and
  • Madam Alloumeck Christelle, representing the Regulatory board and the long list of civil society organizations who actively took part in the multi stakeholder discussion.

Challenges faced

  • Due to the heavy rainfall on the event day, we could not reach the expected number of participants in the seminar.
  • It took us about eight days to get authorization from government to organize the event due to controversies surrounding the and lack of information at the local level on the importance of maintaining net neutrality. The local authorities were wondering the kind of reaction to get from Yaounde if such a meeting is authorized. At the end of the day, we had to lobby to get the meeting declared.

Perspectives

  • Discuss and apply for a partnership possibility with the Glasnost Measurement Lab to set up a server in Cameroon to measure and report net neutrality abuse incidents.
  • Mobilize more funds sensitizing at the national level

Other activities executed as of now

 The web platform is effectively operational, with 1193 visits at the time of this report.

  • Online campaign platform setup. We designed an email mailing list made up of 1750 subscribers through MailChimp for Weekly Newsletters and articles on the project. The Facebook page and twitter hashtag for the project are functional. We will gear up from the 8th of August when the last capacity building seminar will be organized. At that time, the Net Work Observatory Group must have been set up with clear goals and roles to play by individual members.

A capacity building seminar was organized in Douala-Cameroon on the 18th of July 2014 at hotel Lewat by I-Vission International with the theme: Promoting Net Neutrality through multi stakeholder capacity building and dialogue.  A multi stakeholder discussion  was also conducted to get the opinions of the different actors present on the challenges faced in Cameroon and how to influence policy in the interest of everyone. Georges Ndenga, a senior journalist with CRTV (Cameroon radio and Television Corporation) moderated the discussion.


Excel AsamaThe evolution of the Internet governance ecosystem has been very challenging since the installation of the open standards as method of governance and development. These principles stand to be the best method of governance as of now though it has gone through a lot of challenges and controversial situations from some stake holders involved.

I look at the future of the Internet governance ecosystem with a lot of reserve for the following reasons:

  • Politics and the quest for power: The founding fathers of the Internet never thought of a platform that is dominated by politicians and power mongers of different forms. The Snoden sting is just an example to show case the interest politicians have in using the global Internet platform to have an edge over the others. This quest for info power and control over others play a vital role in shaping the evolution of Internet Governance in the coming years. An invisible stakeholder has been introduced into the governance platform (secret spying agents). The impact this stakeholder has on the governance structure is very important. Many users are scared away from the platform. People feel more unsecured online than offline. The risk of a global conflict between nations and continents is more and more visible. The Internet governance is gradually sliding off the hands of the three in one governance (government, civil society and private sector) to a three plus one formula, the invisible actor.
  • Business and the neutrality of the net: Another factor that is shaping the evolution of the Internet in a negative direction is the perpetual violation of internet neutrality by businesses for the purpose to make huge benefits.

Considering the above challenges listed, I personally have the take that the evolution of the Internet governance will be at risk if the multi stakeholder method of governance is not respected and reinforced. It is the only method of governance that guarantees equality in the governance structure. The shaping of the Internet future will depend on how each stakeholder is reminded on its role and limits in the management of platform resources. Should one stakeholder go beyond limits, then the others must be strong enough either to sanction to get him or her back to normal in a reasonable time limit.

The multi stake holder guiding principles of Internet governance play a major and productive role in the delegation of new top level domain by ICANN. This has been very instrumental in the whole process.

Promoting Net Neutrality in Cameroon


Promoting Net Neutrality in Cameroon

A capacity building seminar was organized in Douala-Cameroon on the 18th of July 2014 at hotel Lewat by I-Vision International with the theme: Promoting Net Neutrality through multi stakeholder capacity building and dialogue. Forty two participants were trained on the concept of Net Neutrality including its historical background, how to detect abuse, its importance and impact if not maintained.

This is one in a series of seminars to be organized in a project funded by the Web we Want campaign.

Excel Asama saluted the presence of the Regional delegate of the Post and Telecommuiation Mr Bassirou for his perpetual support and concern in the development of ICTs in Cameroon. The project manager of www.ici.cm  platform, Marc Ngiamba was also part of the show.

Project website @ www.netnogcm.net

NET NEUTRALITY CAMEROON

 

 

 

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